As I mentioned on my other new blog* (because, really, you can never have too many, right?), one of the very first discoveries I made when I began researching my family’s history was a photograph of my great-great-grandfather, James Crew Shelton (1844-1923), of Pittsylvania County, Virginia. I was in the midst of posting information on Ancestry.com, when one of those little shaking leaves popped up and seemed awfully persistent. I clicked, and among the listed hints was a link to a photograph:
GULP! He appears to be a right fierce old gentleman, doesn’t he? And if I look very closely, I can see the features of his grandson, my grandfather … Jimmie Meace Shelton. The person who had posted the photograph was generous enough to let me copy it to my tree, but was uncertain where she had gotten it. All she knew was that she had found the image online. I would love to credit the owner of the original, but don’t know who that is. So, if you are in our Shelton family, and this is your original photograph, I’d love to get in touch, and I would also love to know if you have any other photographs from that generation, because this one is wonderful !!
I think that discovery was the moment I was officially hooked on this process. I dabbled in some on-line genealogy several years ago, but it was all so new. I must admit, I am a sucker for instant gratification, and the sheer volume of information we can tap into now is amazing. However, all of this available information on-line has made me want to dig around in old courthouses and archives, and get my hands on “real paper.” The online images are terrific and I’ve learned so much already, but to actually see a document that was produced in the life of someone who is responsible for me being here … that would be a goose-bump moment for sure.
So when I hit those brick walls – and boy, have I hit some doozies! – I remember the goose-bump moments and it is enough to keep me digging. I’ll share some of them here, as I go along. And if we’re related, I hope you’ll reach out and share some of yours with me, too.